Kudos to the NFL for their investigation into New Orleans Saints who allegedly supported bounty programs aka “pay for performance”. While healthy competition on the field is constructive, bounty programs are not supported by the NFL. However, the NFL needs to consistently state this and follow with severe consequences to anyone participating or supporting these programs. I have yet to see the NFL put out a simple press release stating that they are continuing to investigate this, and are currently developing an “Ethical Playbook” that clearly defines actionable offenses of those supporting or contributing to bounty programs. This playbook can be updated with new offenses beyond bounty programs, along with repercussions for offenses conducted.
The “Ethical Playbook” should consistently be updated with new efforts to protect players and the sport. To start it should include:
- Create an NFL Oath for all teams to sign detailing good intentions for competitive games.
- Clearly define the unethical occurrence, in this case bounty programs
- Create a “Penalty” document that details fines/suspensions/consequences to those involved, including legal actions the NFL is prepared to take.
- Provide updates to the “Penalty” document via their website, as well as e-mail to all owners/ managers/ coaches/ players, etc., with a request for verification that the document has been read.
- Create a report card that highlights those supporting the “Oath” as well as those with infractions.
- The NFL must take legal action when necessary, and make that information publicly available on their website. They might even create a separate tab on the website for the “Ethical Playbook” and updates on any misconduct conducted.
The NFL has done the ethical thing by publicizing the seriousness of bounty programs, but strong words do little to deter coaches/players from participating in these programs. The NFL must now take steps and real actions in an effort to maintain the credibility of the organization as a means to show support to ethical teams, businesses (corporate sponsors/ vendors/ etc.), and countless NFL fans/supporters.
Below are two articles that highlight this issues:
What Bounty System Scandal Means for NFL’s Future http://to.pbs.org/zTng2C
‘Bounty’ sanctions must be severe to protect NFL’s image http://bit.ly/za95yG